By MARC BOWMAN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yordan Alvarez and Jake Meyers homered and Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings as the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 on Sunday.
The Astros salvaged the final game of the series, expanding their American League West lead to 1 1/2 games as Texas lost to Cleveland 9-2.
Valdez pitched around three Astros errors for his fifth consecutive quality start, allowing one unearned run on five hits and a walk, striking out five.
Falling behind early, Valdez (12-10) had trouble locating his changeup. He threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of 26 batters while missing the strike zone with 16 of 39 changeups.
Meyers led off the fourth with his 10th homer and Alvarez hit his 28th leading off the fifth, the 38th allowed by Jordan Lyles (4-17), tying a Royals record. Kansas City is 48-102.
Houston collected leadoff hits in all but one inning against Lyles, who limited the damage as the Astros were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. He completed six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Drew Waters’ sacrifice fly opened the scoring. After Logan Porter reached on Valdez’s throwing error and threw wildly to first, Nick Loftin advanced to third. Porter was later awarded second as first baseman José Abreu threw his glove at Valdez’s wild throw for a second error on the same play.
Houston tied the game on José Abreu’s sacrifice fly in the third before Chas McCormick’s two-out RBI single gave the Astros a 2-1 lead. McCormick had three of Houston’s nine hits and stole two bases.
Meyers’ triple and Jose Altuve’s third hit highlighted a three-run ninth inning.
With a perfect eighth, Bryan Abreu extended his scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings, matching a career high with the majors’ longest active streak.
Nick Loftin had two of Kansas City’s six hits as the Royals four-game win streak ended.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (11-8, 3.39 ERA) opposes Orioles LHP John Means (0-1, 5.40)
Royals: RHP Brady Singer (8-11, 5.51) opposes Guardians RHP Cal Quantrill (3-6, 5.40)